Roman Cats

Rome Four Girls 3

Many thanks to Red Omnivore, an online literary magazine, for publishing the following poem late last year.

Gatti Romani

                                                  —at the Roman Forum, 1980

The ancient stones, the uncut grass

  skinny feral cats arching bony backs

    mincing for mice, nosing for toads

.

I’m part of a pack of five loose strays

  we, too, prowling; only not for lunch

    we nose for bowls of adventure

.

Brazilian shorthair, royal Persian snob

  two Texas tabbies mewing out meows

    and me, their teenage tom-tom up a tree

.

Dogs who chipped and chiseled earth

  who sweat to raise these crumbling walls

    they haunt us here like last night’s rain

.

Like four felines posing by a column

  clawing the air, shaking tawny tails

    our own fossils chiseled into film

.

Passports packed and visas stamped

  we leave our footprints on a path

    we cede another century to cats

.

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